The Benefits of Green Tea for Dogs

The Benefits of Green Tea for Dogs

If you have looked over the Stay Loyal ingredients (and we hope you have!), you may have noticed “green tea” is one of them. Did this surprise you? You may have thought that tea would not be good for dogs. Or maybe you just never really thought of it as a “dog food” and therefore were just surprised for that reason.

Well, we don’t put anything in our dog food without reason.

Food Benefits of Green Tea

Green Tea is an excellent source of antioxidants, alkaloids, vitamins A, D, E, C, B, B5, H and K, manganese and other beneficial minerals such as zinc, chromium and selenium!

Antioxidants, as you may well know, are what helps prevent and fight cancer. Green tea has been associated with inhibiting certain types of tumors including cancers of stomach, gall bladder, prostate, uterus, lung, intestine, colon, rectum and pancreas.

It also lowers blood cholesterol and inhibits breast cancer. And of course, it can help with digestive upsets. Green tea is absorbed into all body tissues, but it concentrates in the liver and digestive tract, which explains why most of the parts of the dog that benefit are in that area of the body.

Feeding Green Tea

Some veterinarians recommend green tea supplements for dogs that have cancer or need additional antioxidants. If you are interested in green tea supplements, ask your veterinarian about them to find out if they are right for your pet. You do not need a prescription for them, but it’s always good to get a vet opinion.

Like all teas, green tea accumulates heavy metals, fluorides and other toxins from the soil and water it is grown in. So, it’s best to know where the green tea is coming from that you are giving your dog. If you are buying tea bags, look for organic products. Also look for naturally decaffeinated varieties for your dog. If you are buying a food or treat with green tea in it, make sure the company sources responsibly.

Topical Benefits of Green Tea

Of course, green tea can also be used topically on your dog. Steep a cup of green tea and then let it cool. Use this to clean your pet’s ears. You can also put a cold tea bag on hot spots and mouth sores to soothe them. You can even add green tea your dog’s shampoo if he has especially dry or itchy skin.

Now you see why we have added green tea or our Stay Loyal dog food. When ingested, it’s a powerhouse of anti-cancer agents that help your dog stay heathy. For a closer look at our ingredients, read here.

Signs of Stress in Dogs

Signs of Stress in Dogs

Dogs get stressed or fearful about things just like we do. Unfortunately, they don’t show it in ways that we always recognize. Knowing when your dog is bothered can help strengthen your bond, avoid training frustration (is he not listening because he is too anxious about something?), and perhaps most important, help avoid fear aggression/biting.

A dog that is stressed or scared of something – whether it’s a new environment, the dog across the street, people, cars, etc. – is in his “survival mode.” At this point, their amygdala has sent warning signals out and your dog is only thinking about fight or flight. They cannot physically respond to your training cues. Your dog is now at a crossroads. Option 1: he can turn and run. Option 2: he can fight. Often this choice is forced upon a dog because he is restrained by a leash or your arms and so cannot choose option 1. This is when fear biting or even aggression biting, can happen.

Knowing the early signs of stress, before your dog gets to the point where he cannot respond, is imperative to the owner-dog relationship.

So What Are Those Early Stress Signs???

Signs Your Dog is Stressed

Thankfully, dogs have a LOT of stress signals. Here are the common ones:

· Panting excessively when it’s not that hot outside or he hasn’t been exercising

· Lip Licking

· Furrowed brow (“worried” wrinkles on the forehead)

· Tail tucked between legs in a way not usual for your dog (remember breed-specific tail sets come into play, some carry theirs naturally low, but even those breeds can tuck their tail – I’ve seen greyhounds with their tale tucked so far its touching their belly).

· White of the eyes showing. In some dogs, the eyes may actually bulge. This is called “whale eye.”

· Drooling (in breeds not prone to drool)

· Yawning

· Whining (some may stress bark)

· Loss of appetite

· Taking treats hard– meaning he will grab the treats from you, bite harder than normal and may even accidently bite you. This is especially noticeable in dogs that normally are polite treat takers, but if you pay attention you can notice the change even in dogs that are normally a bit overzealous about treats.

· Cowering (many dogs may try to hide behind something)

· Fleeing – trying to run away from the situation

· Freezing – meaning their entire body becomes still and rigid (many dogs will freeze just before they bite!)

· Stop responding to cues they normally respond to.

Remember, if your dog is displaying any of these it’s time to change the situation by adding some distance between your dog and whatever is causing the stress. Once your dog is at that the point where he cannot respond, you need to change the situation by removing the trigger completely. That is the only solution at that point. Especially if the dog had a history of fear biting.

The late Dr. Sophia Yin made incredible posters that are free to download from her site that show these signs in pictorial form. If you have children at home, these are a MUST for the refrigerator. Here’s a direct link She also has ones for greeting dogs, also great for children.

If you have noticed your dog doing all of these things often, then you may want to find a dog trainer to help you work your dog through some of their fears. Done correctly, you can make your dog a happier, more relaxed member of the family, which everyone will appreciate.

The Secret To Making your Dog Come EVERY Time You Call!

The Secret To Making your Dog Come EVERY Time You Call!

Teaching a dog to come is very important. It can save you time and frustration when you need your dog to come inside so you can leave for work and they just don’t want to. It can also save their life, like if they are running toward the street, for example.

But “come” is a very boring cue for your dog. In most cases it means the end of the fun they were having. Maybe it’s time to leave the dog park or come in from the yard. Maybe you are calling them to come because they are getting into something they shouldn’t, like digging under the fence. These are just a few reasons why many dogs do not come when their owners call.

Common Owner Mistakes That Ruin a Dog’s Recall

Of course, your wandering hound is not solely to blame if he decides not to come. There are many mistakes we humans make that poison our come cue. Here are a few of the big ones:

Calling them to us and then punishing. If someone called you to them and then scolded you, would you run to them happily? No, and neither will a dog. No matter how mad you are, never call your dog and then scold them.

Repeating the cue. Do you sit there and say “Come” (or your dog’s name, “Here”, whatever word you use) over and over until your dog decides to finally saunter over? You are teaching your dog that he doesn’t have to come to that first word. In fact, for many dogs what ends up happening is they see the cue as “come, come, come,” and won’t respond until you have said it that many times (or however many times you have gotten in the habit of calling out). From now on, you will need to say it that many times before he responds.

Calling them for something they hate. It’s easy to want to call our dog to us and then give them a bath, groom them or trim their nails. But if your dog hates those things, all you are really doing – in their mind – is punishing them for responding to your cue. For things your dog dislikes, it’s best to just go get them rather than risk ruining your cue.

Now that you know what NOT to do, here are a few games that will strengthen your dog’s Come cue.

Some Great Games To Teach a Good Recall!

The key to these games is to make running to you the best thing ever. So, that means you should act excited and happy every time your dog comes to you during these games and give them lots of praise and attention when they respond promptly to your cue. Start with no distractions and then as your dog gets better start including new smells and people in the area.

Note: If you have already made some or all of them mistakes listed above, you may find it’s easier to just start over teaching your come using a NEW CUE, rather than try to fix the old one.

Puppy Ping Pong- This requires two or more people. Stand facing each other like you would to play catch. Start out fairly close together, maybe just a few feet depending on the level the dog is at. With an easily distracted puppy, definitely start close. Take turns calling the dog to you. Be sure to have a “party” when the dog comes. You can use verbal praise, petting, treats or toys. After a few second “party” the other person calls the dog back. Most dogs really love this game! You can add more people as your dog gets better at it.

Hide ‘n’ Seek. This is just like the game you used to play when you were young. Distract your dog with some kibble or a toy on the floor and then hide. At first, make it fairly easy for your dog to find you by staying in the same room or hiding behind a nearby tree. Then call your dog. For most dogs, suddenly realizing you have disappeared will make them wonder “where did she go?” and they will quickly seek you out. Remember, big party when they find you. Choose trickier hiding spots as the dog gets better at finding you. You can also add people and have him find each in turn as they call him.

Catch and Release. This is for those dogs who have learned that Come means all the fun is stopping. Maybe you try and call your dog at the dog park or the beach when it’s time to leave and they run in the opposite direction, knowing you are calling them to go home. This game is going to fix that. Call your dog to you and then reward them for coming. Be sure you physically catch your dog. Put your hand on their collar, leash them up, etc. Then, release them to go play again. You should use a cue to do this, so they understand that you are giving them permission to leave you again. You can use the cue you must release your dog from his stay, or another one such as “go play.” If you do not use a release cue, your dog may learn that Come means “run to my owner, get a reward and sprint off again.” That is definitely not what you want.

Note: How to encourage a dog that won’t come

· Get down closer to the ground in an inviting stance, arms open, crouched or kneeling

· Turn slightly away from the dog, avoiding eye contact (especially for shier dogs)

· Make silly noises (some dogs get their interest peeked and want to investigate)

· Pat your legs

· Turn and run away (many dogs love to chase, and I find this works best for me)

· Squeak a toy (this is a tool that will have to eventually be faded away, but sometimes necessary at the beginning for dogs who only care about toys)

Avoid the above mistakes, play these games and your dog will have a solid recall in no time that will make life much more pleasant, not to mention safer, for both you and your dog.

Top Theories on Why Your Dog Eats Poop

Top Theories on Why Your Dog Eats Poop

Why Does My Dog Eat Poop?

Poop eating. It’s not something that is pleasant for us, that’s for sure. Especially if your dog then wants to lick you in the face. YUCK! But why do dogs do it in the first place? There must be a reason, right? And if you know the reasons, curbing your dog’s desire to eat feces should be easy, right?

THE PROBLEM? No One Really Knows!

There are many theories, speculations and even just good ol- fashioned guesses when it comes to why dogs eat poop.

Let’s Start With Dogs That Eat Their Own Poop

This is called autocoprophagia and it’s pretty common in the dog world. And while we cannot say for certain why some dogs do this, there are a couple theories that have more backing than others. They are:

A Bad Habit. Mother dogs eat the poop of their young to keep the “den area” (i.e. wherever you have placed your bitch and her litter) clean. Since puppies will often do this in imitation of their mother, it’s possible one or two of the puppies picked up this habit and just kept doing it.

Instinct. Wild dogs eat their own feces and there have been studies/research into the possible reasons why. One study from the University of California done by Dr. Benjamin Hart concluded that dogs may have this instinct in them because wild dogs eat feces around their den area to prevent intestinal parasites present in the poop from being spread to other pack members. Other researchers believe that wild dogs sometimes eat poop to keep from starving, since they are largely scavengers. They believe that some domestic dogs have retained this survival instinct.

House Training Anxiety. If it’s a puppy that has started to eat its own poop, this can be linked to housetraining. If the puppy has been physically punished (in particular, sticking a dog’s nose in its feces was found to be a main culprit in studies) for going in the house, some learn to eat their own poop so the owner doesn’t find it. Smart dogs, really. But, this is a good case for using positive rewards while housetraining rather than correction so you don’t cause another nasty problem.

Dogs That Eat Their Own Poop and/or Other Animals’ Poop

Then there are the dogs that eat their own poop and/or other animals, called allocoprophagia. Cat, horse, duck, goose and other dog droppings are very popular, but some dogs will eat any type of poop they come across. But why? Here are some leading theories:

Isolation. Studies have shown that dogs kept in isolation FROM HUMANS are more likely to eat their own or other animals’ poop. This may be linked to survival instinct, but they are not really sure.

Medical Problems. There are actually a few medical issues that can cause a dog to want to eat its own poop, or that of other animals. These include: diabetes, Cushing’s, and thyroid disease. If your dog has suddenly picked up this habit, taken him to the vet to have him checked out. Steroids from the vet can also cause dogs to eat poop.

Imbalanced Diet. A dog that is malnourished or deficient in certain nutrients may turn to eating poop to try and get the nourishment he lacks. Again, this most likely stems from the survival instinct. Interestingly, there are two possibilities when this happens.

1. If your dog seems to be targeting another dog, that dog should be tested for diseases that may be causing him to not digest/absorb nutrients properly, which are then being passed into his feces making them more appealing to the dog that’s lacking them!

2. Or…the targeted dog may have a more diverse microbiome and the dog eating it may be trying to replenish gut microorganism levels.

Diet is probably the only one of these reasons that has a “simple” fix. If your dog is eating poop because his current dog food is not satisfying him, it’s time to switch! If you think that is the case, you should check our dog food. Stay Loyal has a carefully researched ingredient list that is full of the nutrients your dog needs. Check it out here.

To stop coprophagia the process should be- have you dog checked out by the vet to rule out medical issues. Think about a diet change- Barring those, it’s time to talk with a dog trainer that can help you develop a management and training plan to curb your dog’s gross appetite. Failing all that maybe we should understand that what is grose to us is normal for them, and just let this one be.

Tips for Taking Great Holiday Photos with Pets

Tips for Taking Great Holiday Photos with Pets

Getting your dog (and any other family pets) to sit still and look nice for a holiday photo can be a challenge. And they never end up looking like those photos in the pet calendar. Sure, you can hire a professional, but there is no reason why you can’t recreate those stunning photos yourself with just a bit of practice and these secrets from a professional photographer.

#1 – Preparation

First make sure your dog is groomed and brushed prior to the photo. If they are going to wear a collar, a new one always looks the nicest. Otherwise, at least wash their old collar. Having a hungry dog can help too. If they are hungry, most dogs will sit and look at the camera if there’s a treat in it for them. Have an active dog? These types of dogs often do better if they have a bit of exercise first, not so much that they are panting in the pictures, but enough to make it easier for them to sit still.

#2 – Perfect Background

Natural backgrounds can make lovely sceneries, and of course so does the Christmas tree or the fireplace. No matter where you shoot, keep in mind that your main subject is the pet, and shooting with a shallow depth of field will help them stand out in your image. If you really want your pet to “pop,” use a solid background like a grassed area, blank wall or hang a sheet up.

#3 – Color Coordinate

Think about what colors coordinate with your dog’s coat and make sure those are in the background, or if you are going to be in the photo, wear colors that coordinate with your dog but don’t make him blend in with you. So for example, don’t wear black pants and then have your black Miniature Schnauzer sit on your lap. Red or green pants would be more festive and will make your dog stand out without clashing.

#4 – Preventing the Blur

The hardest part of taking pictures of dogs is the movement. If you are using a camera and not a phone, make sure your shutter speed is fast to prevent the blur. With dogs that are highly active, you’ll probably need to take more photos in order to get that perfect shot.

#5 – Time of Day Tips

If you are shooting outside, pay attention to the different lights at different times of day. Different lighting will really affect how your dog looks, especially those with bright coats, such as an all white Maltese. All white dogs get washed out in bright light, an overcast day works better for them. On the other hand, avoid dark times of day if you have a dark dog.

#6 – Have Helpers

Having someone to wrangle your dog is always helpful, especially if you have more than one. That way, you can stay posed at the ready to capture the shot as soon as the other person or people get your dog(s) into position.

#7 – Pricked Ears

Be prepared to get a little silly and make some strange noises. Squeaky toys work from some dogs, though some get too excited and will want to take the toy.

#8 – Get Low

Getting low to the ground can give you some interesting angles and make the shots much more dynamic since you are at your dog’s level.

#9 – Special Tips for Black Dogs

With any black animal, overexpose the shot. This will bring out the details in the fur, and should prevent their eyes from becoming black holes. Professional photographers rarely ever use flash with pet photography, but almost always use reflectors to bounce some light onto their fur and into their eyes.

#10 – Photo Editing and Cropping

If you have any type of photo editing software on your computer, take some time to learn the basics, this can make pet photography much easier. For starters, you can keep your dog leashed and just erase the leash in editing. Cropping is available on all computers, even in Paint, and is very simple to do learn. No professional editing skills required. Cropping lets you cut out the stuff on either side of the photos so your perfect shot isn’t ruined because you didn’t notice you got the mess next to the Christmas tree in your haste to snap the perfect pic.

These tips will help you take amazing pet photos for the holidays, or any time for the year. Just remember to have fun and snap away – sometimes you get the perfect picture without even realizing it. And sometimes, the candid photos may not be what you were planning, but end up being the best ones. Finally, make sure your dog gets plenty of breaks so he has fun during the shoot too.

13 Natural Supplements for Common Ailments

13 Natural Supplements for Common Ailments

There is a lot of talk about using more natural remedies for ourselves and our pets. But you may be wondering what natural supplements are safe for dogs and what ailments do they help address? This guide is just a start – there are dozens of supplements for all kinds of ailments – but this list is a good beginner’s guide. It has many of the common supplements that help with common issues. Here are 13 supplements that can help keep your dog at his best.

#1 – Rosemary

Rosemary is a great supplement for dogs that are anxious. It’s also an antioxidant, helping remove free radicals. And, it helps prevent spasms on smooth muscles, so it can help with heart health, including dogs with cardiac arrhythmias. Finally, it’s great for the digestive system. You can see why we put it in Stay Loyal – it’s definitely a super herb. Just don’t feed your dog the concentrated oils, they are too strong and can cause seizures.

#2 – Kelp

Kelp is high in mineral and trace elements and is a good source of iodine. It helps prevent thyroid issues, cancer, and allergies. It also supports good metabolism and even treats diabetes.

#3 – Pumpkin

Pumpkin is high in soluble fiber and low in fat, making it a healthy treat for any dog. In addition, it helps with digestive issues (both diarrhea and constipation can be treated with pumpkin). It’s a great supplement for many dogs.

#4 – Garlic

Garlic does a lot of good things. Aside from being full of vitamins, calcium, inulin, and amino acids, garlic improves circulation, helps detoxify the body by breaking down wastes before they enter the bloodstream. For these reasons, we put garlic in our Stay Loyal formulas.

#5 – Ginger

Like pumpkin, ginger is good for relieving stomach upset, including motion sickness – it’s great for a car sick pup! It is also an anti-inflammatory that helps alleviate all kinds of pain, including joint.

#6 -Cloves

Cloves act as an antioxidant and anti-fungal. It is also good for the teeth and helps get rid of bacteria in the mouth.

#7 – Green Tea

As most people know, green tea is full of antioxidants as well as vitamins A, B, B5, C, D, E, H, K. It also contains important minerals including manganese, zinc, chromium and selenium. It packs a powerful punch, which is why we add it to our Stay Loyal Original formula. And, if you were looking for external uses, green tea is a safe cleaning agent for your dog’s ears and also can be used at a topical on hot spots to relieve the pain, redness and itchiness.

#8 – Peppermint

Peppermint can soothe an upset stomach. It also is very helpful with freshening up that doggy breath.

#9 – Turmeric

Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory as well as an antioxidant. It can help prevent cancer and also alleviate pain associated with joint issues such as arthritis. That’s why we put it in our Salmon and Turkey Formula.

#10 – Apple Cider Vinegar

Like many on this list, apple cider vinegar helps with digestive issues. However, it can also be used topically as an insect repellent and to relieve aches, bruises, sunburns, bug bites, and boost coat health.

#11 – Cranberry

Loaded with vitamins and minerals, cranberry acts as an antioxidant, boosts the immune system, and promotes urinary tract and heart heath. It is a great supplement to give your dog if they have a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) or are prone to them.

#12 – Coconut Oil

Topically, coconut oil is amazing for keeping the skin and coat healthy. When ingested, it boosts the metabolism and immune systems and promotes heart health.

#13 – Spirulina

Spiruina is a microscopic algae that contains many nutrients and proteins, trace minerals, and fatty acids. This superfood boosts the immune system and suppresses allergies, as well as detoxes the body.

All of these supplements are easy to find online or even your local natural grocery store. If you are not sure about the amount to feed your dog, check with your vet. Serving size will depend on breed, weight, and health of your individual dog. Most of these are very safe and are hard to overdose on, but it’s always best to be sure. Also, when introducing something new to your dog’s system, don’t forget to increase the amount gradually to avoid stomach upset.